Biological Weapons Convention

The BWC is critical to international efforts to address the threat posed by biological weapons – whether in the hands of governments or non-state actors. To remain effective, it must deal with all biological threats we face in the 21st century.

Security & Nonproliferation

The core obligations of Parties under the Convention are

  • Never to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain: 1) biological agents or toxins of types and in quantities that have no justification for peaceful uses; and 2) weapons, equipment, or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes (Article I).
  • To destroy or divert to peaceful purposes all agents, toxins, weapons, equipment, and means of delivery specified in Article I in their possession, or under their jurisdiction or control (Article II).
  • Not to transfer or in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any entity to manufacture or otherwise acquire any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery specified in Article I (Article III).
  • To take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, or retention of any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment, and means of delivery specified in Article I under its jurisdiction or control (Article IV).

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future